The Durango Demons had their postseason run stopped short of the state championship game, but still put together a fine season, and they were rewarded by plenty of names on the All-State Football team. Senior William Knight and junior Joshua Bates led the way by earning First Team honors, and junior Zach Haber earned a spot on the second team. Seniors Kopper Mann and Walter Stauffer both made the Honorable Mention list as lineman.
The Bayfield Wolverines saw their postseason end in the first round, but they also had a healthy contingent make the list. Senior Isaac Ross made the Second Team as a quarterback and seniors James Mars, Coby Prior, and Cael Schaefer all made the Honorable Mention.
In 8-man, the Mancos Bluejays trip to the state championship game opened some eyes to the depth they had on their roster this season. Seniors Luika Cova, Chase Moore, and Andres Moreno all earned a spot on the first team for the Bluejays. The Second Team spot was held down by senior Mason Goodwin, and the Jays also had juniors Lane Greenlee and Ayden Mathews earn Honorable Mentions.
Just down the highway, Dove Creek also made a deep run, getting to the quarterfinals where they fell to Holly. Sophomore Tyson Beanland and seniors Chorbin Cressler and Blane Johnson were voted to the Second Team for their efforts, with junior Kade Hankins finding his spot in the Honorable Mention list.
The final week of the December portion of the Durango Demons schedule was not kind to them, as they went to Farmington for tournament action and went 0-3, falling to Gallup (NM) by a pair before Farmington (NM) rolled to a 67-43 win Friday and a 45-41 loss to Bloomfield (NM) on Saturday. The losses drop Durango to 5-5 on the year and leave some questions for the Demons on who will help Anthony Flint on the offensive side of the ball, where he is six points ahead of his next teammate with nearly 14 a game. Walter Stauffer, a senior post, has been a consistent factor inside, with eight points and eight rebounds a game.
For Montezuma Cortez, the weekend was very much a mirror image of that of the Demons, with the Panthers going 0-3 against Grand Junction, Delta, and Battle Mountain. The Panthers are not deep this season, with only seven players having active stats recorded so far, so being able to control the ball and tempo will be important.
At 5-3, the Pagosa Springs Pirates are starting to right the ship, getting some big wins against tough competition in Montrose this past weekend. The Pirates lost to the host Indians, but earned wins over Palisade and Roaring Fork. In fact, of the three losses so far for Pagosa, they have come in overtime to 4A Durango, a two point loss to 4-2 Salida, and a loss to undefeated Montrose who sits at 9-0. It is the junior tandem of Gunner Dozier and Kayson Shahan leading the way for Pagosa, with 27 points a night between them. The Pirates are still working on the inside game, where they have only been able to grab 20 rebounds a night.
The Mancos boys are starting the season out on an offense tear, with five of their first seven games seeing the offense put up over 60 points, including a 73-52 win over Ouray to open league action in their final game of 2021. Connor Showalter is averaging 25 points a game through the seven contests, and can add nearly 13 rebounds and five assists a game to those numbers, as the 6’4” senior has been the focal point of the Bluejays offense. Edgar Hernandez is joining Showalter in double figures, and the weapons are pretty plentiful early on for Mancos on the court.
Dove Creek was able to escape their 2-2 start to move to 4-2 after a win over Monticello (UT) in overtime and a 67-54 win over Monument Valley over the weekend. With Dove Creek, Mancos and Dolores sitting all with two losses, and Ignacio in the mix as well, the league is looking like it will be a challenge every night. Kade Hankins has been coming alive this year, with just under 25 points a game and another nine rebounds. Tanner Williams has also been solid as a junior, with nine points a game for his stat line and nearly four assists.
The Dolores Bears have responded well to getting some practice time in after the first week of the season saw them below .500. This week, a pair of wins, including a 74-37 win over De Beque have built some confidence in the 3-2 Bears. Tru Seekins is the leader in scoring as a senior early on, with over 12 points a game, and he is getting help inside, with seniors Wyatt Koskie and Tyler Nowlin both averaging double digit rebounds early on.
The final team really registering on the radar early on in the season for the San Juan League is Ouray, who while sitting at 4-4, has some quality wins, and quality losses on the schedule. Sophomore Calder Green leads the team in scoring with 13 points a game, but there are several weapons developing, with senior Hayden Hart averaging 12 a game and junior DC Miller averaging 11. Hart and fellow senior Kaden Nelson have been impressive inside as well, with both grabbing over eight rebounds a game. Rebounding as a team has not been as good though, with only 24 per game as a group, leaving only eight rebounds to be split amongst the remaining nine players on the roster.
While the Durango boys went 0-3 in Farmington over the weekend, the girls were working on flipping the script and brought home a tournament championship as they improved to 8-2 after going a perfect 3-0. The Demons averaged over 50 points a game in the three wins over Laguna Acoma (NM), Cuba (NM), and Thoreau (NM). The season has been a coming out party early on for Mason Rowland, who is averaging over 21 points a game so far, including a 29 point effort against Thoreau in the championship. Riley Campbell has been working the inside for a team high six rebounds per game, and as a team, they are pulling down 30 rebounds a game and only turning the ball over 14 times a game, showing a good focus on controlling the basketball.
The Pagosa Springs Pirates stayed closer to home this weekend, with wins over Ignacio (60-45) and Mancos (47-42) improving them to 6-1 on the season. Karsyn Shahan is leading the Pirates with 11 points a game as only a freshman and Trista Tully has been dominant so far inside with nearly 10 points and seven rebounds a game. The best test of the year to date is coming though, when they will take on the Sanford Indians out of the break, who are 4-1 and one of the favorites in the 2A ranks.
While the boys in Cortez were struggling this weekend, the girls were on a tear, improving their record to 6-2 and adding their name into the hunt for the Intermountain League title this winter. Wins over Dolores, Gunnison, and Crested Butte gave the Panthers their sixth win in succession, and the Panthers haven’t been held to less than 54 points in that stretch. Confidence should be high when they enter league play out of the gate with Centauri and Pagosa on the schedule to open the new year.
The Bayfield Wolverines saw their season continue to slip away from them, falling to Ignacio, but on the flip side, the Bobcats are riding a 3-3 record into the break on the girls side, with two of their losses coming from the combined 14-3 record of Durango and Pagosa Springs. Avaleena Nanaeto is leading the pace for the Bobcats, as the senior is averaging 11 points and five rebounds a game. Maybe even more impressive is Laci Brunson, who is dishing out over four assists per game as a junior, and Harmony Reynolds is grabbing over eight boards a game.
The loss to Pagosa Springs for the Mancos Bluejays was a bump in the road that snapped their four game winning streak and brought them to 4-2 on the year. With only Dove Creek really separating themselves in league play, the opening games of 2022 will be a good indicator for the Bluejays, who will challenge Sanford and Ignacio out of the gate in a good mix of league and non-league action at the 2A level.
The Dove Creek girls are trying to run away from the rest of the San Juan League, and at 7-1, are doing a good job of it. The Bulldogs trounced Monticello (UT) and Monument Valley (UT) this weekend, and are revealing their three headed version of Cerbius that is helping them to 53 points a game. Thirty-three of those points are coming from the combination of juniors Lexi Gray and Rylee Hickman, and sophomore Kylie Gatlin. Gray adds in another 13 rebounds a game for a team that is averaging 36 per trip out.
The Nucla Mustangs were off to a strong start this season, but have dropped three of their last four on the way to a 3-5 record heading into Christmas. The name of the game is defense for the Mustangs this year, with only one game seeing either them or their competition scoring more than 50 points. The majority of the 27 points a game for the Mustangs is coming from junior Candis Staats and sophomore Haylee Smith, who are putting up 21 points a game combined. Junior Lisa Sutherland has also been good on the boards, joining Staats with seven rebounds a game.
Southwest Colorado Wrestling at the end of December usually means one thing, and that is a trip up to Grand Junction to participate in the Warrior Classic.
The Pagosa Springs Pirates continued their success and were able to snatch a top team finish as a team, although they only tallied 83 team points on the tournament. The placers for the Pirates began at 132 lbs, where Griffin Bower placed fifth. The only other placer for Pagosa would be 195 pounder Wil Aucoin, who would remain undefeated on the season at 10-0 and bringing home a championship.
Durango was also at the Classic, and the Demons would finished tied with Fort Collins for 16th in the field. At 106 lbs, Ryan Dugan continued his strong season with a fourth place finish, improving his record to 16-2 on the year. Ben Belt also had a strong tournament, finishing third at 170 and pushing his record to 18-2. One weight ahead, Tyler Woodworth at 182 lbs took sixth place for the Demons, although his final match was a medical forfeit.
The Bayfield Wolverines finished in 23rd, and saw their 152 pound wrestler Deegan Barnes finish in sixth place, extending his record to 11-4, and Kobe Prior at 170 lbs was unstoppable, staying unbeaten on the season at 11-0 and bringing home a individual title for the Wolverines.
Dove Creek was a the Pete and Ina Gomez Invitational and saw sophomore Tyson Beanland earn a spot on the podium for the Bulldogs, taking sixth place at 145 pounds and pushing his record to 14-7.
It was Mancos down the road that really thrived though, taking home the team title with 173.5 points over Gunnison and Palmer Ridge. Dillon Eichner took home a championship at 106 pounds, and the Bluejays had runner up finishes from Isaiah Martinez (113), Levi Martin (126), Ayden Mathews (160), and Lane Greenlee (182). Cole Dainty-Guilfoyle took home third at 170 pounds, and both Trevor Paquin and Brandon Vannest took home fourth place finishes on the day at 132 and 120 pounds respectively.
Ignacio was also at the same tournament, and watched 145 pounder Keaton McCoy move to 7-2 on the year with a second place finish. Also taking second was Tyler Barnes at 170 pounds, but both were outshined slightly by Jeremy Roderick, who took home the individual title at 285.